Esplanade closure begins February 1st

‘Worst Day of the Year Ride’ cancels completely on account of weather (updated)

Posted by on February 8th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

First snow day of 2014-25

A rider on the street Thursday.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland

Update: The Worst Day Ride’s organizers said Saturday that they’ve canceled Sunday’s event completely (making various earlier misreports about the cancellation retroactively accurate, I suppose). People who’d bought places in the ride will get automatic entry in next year’s.

As of Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service expects another 4 to 8 inches of snow to fall by Sunday afternoon, plus freezing rain and ice in some areas, on top of the three to five inches that fell Friday and continued to pile up Saturday.

Here’s the announcement from their site:

Alas, Mother Nature wins this round. We have been forced to cancel the event, or more accurately, postpone for one year. Worsening weather conditions and a forecast of freezing rain tomorrow make for unsafe conditions.

Your safety and the safety of our support staff is our number one concern, and conditions have dictated that it would be nearly impossible to guarantee the well being of everyone during this event.

We appreciate your understanding of this decision and want to thank you for your support by guaranteeing your entry into next year’s Worst Day of the Year Ride.

In its voicemail message Saturday, Good Sport Promotion said an email in the next week will contain instructions on how to claim next year’s ride. It didn’t mention whether cash refunds will be available on request.

Our original Thursday night post follows.

The organizers of Portland’s Worst Day of the Year bike ride love to mention that in its 13-year history, it’s never really rained.

Looks as if the event may have found a way to live up to its name without breaking that record.

Three days before this year’s ride, organizers have called off their 46-mile “challenge” route through the West Hills “for safety reasons.” (Willamette Week sounded off on this with the semi-accurate but pretty amusing headline “Worst Day of the Year Ride Canceled Because of Bad Weather.”)

The more popular 15-mile urban route, in any case, will roll out at 10 a.m. Sunday as usual. Participation, which includes snacks and support, costs $36.50 in advance or $45 on the day of.

Representatives for the organizing company, Good Sport Promotion, weren’t available for comment Thursday evening.

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  • cyclemax February 6, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    hahahahaha! Check out how the tough get going when the going gets tough in a serious cycling city

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    • spare_wheel February 7, 2014 at 10:53 am

      a women walking her bike on nice fresh snow???


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    • stephen salter February 8, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      look at the ground under those bike tires: there’s barely any snow; because they take care of their bike infrastructure! they were all riding on less than 1cm of powder. the riders tomorrow would be faced with an inches deep glare ice encrusted cold mess. Copenhagen cyclists aren’t tougher than us, its just that they’re needs are actually served!

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    • Barney February 9, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Let the jokes begin!

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      • Alan 1.0 February 9, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        ya think they’d cancel the Nicest Day of the Year ride because it was too sunny?

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  • Schrauf February 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Embarrassing. Never signing up for this ride again.

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    • Grace February 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      *confused* What is embarrassing?

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      • q`Tzal February 7, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        The one time is ACTUALLY bad weather they cancel it?

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        • Grace February 7, 2014 at 8:14 pm

          But they didn’t cancel the ride…..

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          • buny February 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm

            yeah, that headline is clickbait!

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      • Schrauf February 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm

        Grace, it’s the worst day of the year ride. You hold it no matter how “worst” it is. No other ride in the world has to do so, but this one does, out of sheer honor. Or don’t advertise it as the worst day or the year ride.

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    • Mossby Pomegranate February 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      With any luck, Charlie Hales or Steve Novick will show up for a photo op.

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  • scott February 7, 2014 at 10:07 am

    How lame.

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  • John Lascurettes February 7, 2014 at 10:19 am

    The Polar Plunge was also cancelled this year. Oh, the irony.

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  • Joe Holcomb February 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Ha! That’s me, on the yellow/pink Crux DISC… Rolled home w/o issues… Just dropped the tire pressure down to 35 rear, 32 front. Everyone be safe out there!

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  • dwainedibbly February 7, 2014 at 11:47 am

    OPB was reporting this morning that the entire event was cancelled. When I heard that it made me think, “So this is it. We’re all wimps.” Good to hear that at least part of it is still going on.

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  • Jane February 7, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I’m planning a “Best Day Of The Year Ride” for July 26. Upon hearing of a sunny and warmish forecast I intend to cancel, and stay home smoking pot and playing video games instead.

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  • Jason Domann February 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Of course they had to cancel it, lest they be sued into oblivion never to organize a ride again.

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    • Mindful Cyclist February 8, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Exactly. I wonder how much this had to do with liability and even the company that was insuring telling the organizers to pull the plug. There are some very steep and windy hills on that route. Not something I would want to send a weekend warrior rider out on.

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      • Alan 1.0 February 8, 2014 at 11:01 am

        Of course! The ride organizers are venal capitalists deterred only by the oppressive hegemony of civil law. The wise and compassionate thing to do would have been to entice a bunch of riders, many less qualified than the organizers, to radically push their skills in the face of unfamiliar hazards beyond their control, gross uncertainty about rapidly changing conditions, and already strained emergency services. That’s gotta be it.

        Stay safe and warm, friends!

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  • L February 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    The whole dealio is cancelled. All rides. All parties. All everything.

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  • Psyfalcon February 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    You might want to edit the original story out. I think it just makes it more confusing now that they’ve canceled the whole thing.

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  • q`Tzal February 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    They can just rename it “Most Unsafe Day of the Year Ride”!

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  • q`Tzal February 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    For the record as a professional driver who just drug a trailer through the worst of this south of Portland :
    It might not be unsafe to be out on foot,
    It might not be unsafe to be out on a bicycle,
    The real problem is that too many drivers are taking this snow storm as their one opportunity to drive like lunatics.
    If the police weren’t too busy handling actual emergencies they could ticket over half the automobile drivers that have neither tire chains nor traction tires as REQUIRED BY LAW right now.
    In most places cars are stuck at the edge of any road, driveway and side street.
    All the while some people are driving faster and maneuvering more suddenly than they do on dry pavement.
    Even the safe drivers are getting stuck and sliding unexpectedly on snowpack that is sliding on top of black iced pavement.

    Realistically, the only way to make a large organized ride safe would be to restrict automotive access within 200 yards.

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    • Psyfalcon February 9, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Who actually had chain restrictions?

      This morning, it only applies to trailers and trucks when I check the Portland area.
      “Current Chain Restrictions: Chains Required on vehicles towing or single drive axle over 10,000 GVW”

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      • q`Tzal February 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        Just checked the tracking ODOT site and looks like they dropped the chain restrictions for the metro area midday Sunday.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu February 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Tomorrow, the roads will be too icy to be acceptably safe for cyclists not equipped with studded tires. Sending thousands of riders out on a party ride in those conditions would have been a liability nightmare. Canceling the ride was the correct decision. If anyone thinks it was a wimpy, “embarrassing” decision, then they can certainly suit up tomorrow and ride a 15 mile loop around Portland on their own. Have fun!

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  • Lazy Spinner February 9, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Here’s what is disturbing: no re-scheduling effort mentioned and no offer of refunds?

    So it appears that Good Sport is going to keep your money. Maybe CCC will get some, maybe they won’t? Riders get credit towards a ride that may or may not happen next year depending on weather, permits being granted, or Good Sport even being in business next year.

    The road conditions merit postponement or outright cancellation but their folksy attempts (“keep it positive”, “make snow angels”) at PR leave me cold and seem either very amateur at best or very shady at worst.

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    • q`Tzal February 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Lazy Spinner
      … but their folksy attempts … at PR leave me cold…

      I see what you did there.

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  • Andrew Holtz February 9, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Of course everyone is disappointed the Worst Day Ride isn’t happening (though I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to my 7 a.m. volunteer post when I can hardly step out my door), but remember it’s not just about us. The purpose of the ride is to help kids & adults who need bikes. I’m going to make an additional contribution now to the Community Cycling Center to help cover the shortfall.

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  • lee tapper February 11, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Canceling the ride is understandable but not offering a cash refund is really bad. How can they assume everyone has the same time next year available? Its a rip off.

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  • lee tapper February 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    The credit for next year suggests that not all our money is going to charity. With a refund we could actually donate the whole amount. it would have been nice if that option had been available.

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